Commission by the Suntory Music Foundation, and was premiered in the Jo Kondo Composer’s Portrait Concert held on October 7, 2004, at Suntory Hall, Tokyo, with the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony orchestra, conducted by Paul Zukofsky.
Since the early 1970s, Jo Kondo’s compositions have stood on a concept he has named “linear music” (sen no ongaku), i.e. the music consisting of a “line” of single notes, hocketted over different instruments. Over the years, the “line” of notes has gradually evolved a much thicker texture, as if the “line” had been “harmonized”. However, unlike conventional harmony, Kondo’s “harmonizations” do not provide architectonic musical underpinnings; the sole role of these “harmonizations” (which provide a chord for each note of the “line”) is to imbue every attack with a specific “color” or “quality”.
In the listening tradition of Western music, in a succession of chords (that are not exceedingly dense, complex, and/or cluster-like), one becomes accustomed to finding “part writing” (SATB as an example), even if that “part writing” was not of original intent. Kondo’s music has no such part writing in mind; but one can nevertheless imagine, or pretend to discover, a transient, fragile, and nonstructural, “pseudo-polyphony”. This psychological, accidental byproduct allows the composer ample room to create musical situations whose meaning and implications are far more deliberately ambiguous than those we are normally accustomed to; but this deliberate ambiguity mandates that the composite rhythm (i.e. the rhythm of all the parts taken together) assume a crucial personage, for unlike Western music, the overall “flow” of the performance is now the sole purview of the composite rhythm, as the composite has become the defacto “line”.
In Summer was written in 2004, under commission from the Suntory Music Foundation, and was premiered in the Jo Kondo Composer’s Portrait Concert held on October 7, 2004, at Suntory Hall, Tokyo, with the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony orchestra, conducted by Paul Zukofsky. The composition is only a single melodic line of chord-colored successive tones, each section of the line cast in a different tempo. As there are no overlaps or chordal superimpositions, the composition is truly a line drawn by the single stroke of a thick brush.